Joshua Van Ness – Tangled

The 66 Sessions
Year :
Tonic / Gavin DeGraw / Edwin McCain

This site is for music lovers. We’ve worked hard to touch upon various genres, reasons to listen to certain songs, how to craft the quintessential summer playlist, and I have no doubt that the other writers and myself will keep working to bring content that anyone can relate to.

That being said, this post is a little different in the sense that it seeks to expose you to someone you may never hear if you don’t live in or frequently travel to the northeast section of the country. I was lucky to spend the bulk of my youth amidst incredible musicians in the New Jersey/NYC music scene. Instead of frequenting pep rallies and football games, I hit up venues all over the tristate area and watched people rock stages harder than any big name star I’d seen. That kind of heart, that kind of dedication was impossible to ignore. It’s the kind of thing you need to be a part of once you’ve witnessed it. You can’t just move on. Or at least, I couldn’t.

Joshua Van Ness, frontman of Men of Rock, was/is a part of that experience and he is one of the most talented, soulful musicians I’ve ever met.  He’s fronted bands that have peppered the aforementioned music scene for the last fifteen years.

As a solo artist, he released a four song EP, Still Here, in 2000 and two full length albums, DNA and Discovering the Universe, between 2008-2011. With each release, Joshua pushed the boundaries of his music and lyrics to keep it fresh, while keeping true to himself and the sound he’d spent so much time creating. He kept busy playing shows at notorious New Jersey venues like Asbury Park’s The Stone Pony and The Saint, as well as Hoboken’s finest: Northern Soul and (the sadly departing) Maxwell’s. Joshua has received several nominations for the Asbury Park Music Awards and been featured on and’s “66 Sessions”.

Giving back to the community that has shown him so much support has always been an important part of his career. Discovering the Universe featured a song (“This Town”) about his experiences within the Asbury Park music scene. Joshua later used the track to promote a Hurricane Sandy relief fund. He’s recently entered Jersey’s Stronger Than The Storm music competition with the song “We Don’t Stop”.

Men of Rock is the brainchild of Joshua and three other talented musicians, Eric Blankenship, Jonathan Andrew, and Joe Beninati. The bandmates are longtime friends and play shows frequently. Speaking of which, if you’re in the mood to catch this bunch of awesome dudes, head to The Bitter End this Saturday night at 9 p.m. to check them out. Be on the lookout for me as there is a very good chance I’ll be there too!

I’m not the first to write about Joshua and I am sure I won’t be the last. One thing everyone seems to say is that he’s got a soul that comes right through the bars of each song.

“Tangled”, the song featured here, is a live recording of Joshua with just his guitar, giving anyone who watches a glimpse of that very soul. Give it a listen. Then find him and the rest of his catalog and listen to that too.

The radio waves are cluttered with songs and musicians that sound the same. It’s hard to break through all that and be heard. Take few minutes out of your day to listen to someone whose love for music is blatantly evident and runs deep. Like ours. Like yours.

Be reminded why we all need it, why we love it so much.

Terri Rodriguez (@northeastshorty) is a self-proclaimed internettie, writer, artist, music and politics junkie, and craft beer lover interested in exploring the food/beer industry. If you see her around Providence she's likely clinking glasses, making jokes, singing songs, and/or causing trouble... the good kind only. Promise... Find her at

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